This paper will compare and contrast five different database management systems on six criteria. The database management systems (DBMS) that will be discussed are SQL Server 2000, Access, MySQL, DB2, and Oracle. The criteria that will be compared are the systems’ functionality, the requirements that must be met to run the DBMS, the expansion capabilities – if it is able to expand to handle more data over time, the types of companies that typically use each one, the normal usage of the DBMS, and the costs associated with implementing the DBMS. System functionality

Microsoft Access is a database engine and development environment in one package. It is typically workstation-based, and designed to be easy to use, even for users with no experience. However, it also provides advanced functionality for experienced users. MySQL is the largest open-source RDMBS, and it is server-based, as well as the rest of the DBMS that will be discussed. According to the mysql. com website, it offers high reliability and performance, easy use and deployment, freedom from platform lock-in by providing ready access to source code, and cross-platform support.

SQL Server is an enterprise class RDBMS from Microsoft. It is part of the Back Office Suite of products. Although it is always server-based in production, it can be client-based in development. DB2 is also an enterprise-class DBMS, produced by IBM. It offers some object-oriented functionality, as well as cross-platform compatibility, and is server-based. Finally, Oracle offers much of the same functionality as DB2, with cross-platform capability, and some object-oriented features. It, as well, is server-based.

System Requirements There is a correlation between the complexity of the DBMS and the system requirements. For instance, Access can be installed on any Windows-based operating system from Windows 95 and above. SQL Server, in the widely used Standard and Enterprise editions, is also strictly Windows-based, but must be run on Windows NT or 2000 Servers. The personal and development editions of SQL Server may be run on Windows NT Workstation, and Windows 2000 and XP Professional, in addition to the server platforms.

MySQL has a wide variety of platforms, including the Windows platforms, Sun Solaris, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and HP-UX, to list a few. DB2 will run on Windows NT 4 and higher, Sun Solaris, HP-UX and Linux. Oracle will run on all of the platforms supported by DB2, as well as AIX 4. 3. 3 or higher, and Compaq Tru64 5. 1. Expansion Capabilities Access is considered to be a small DBMS, with a maximum database size of 1 GB; therefore, it has very limited expansion capabilities.

MySQL does offer expansion, including clustering capability. MySQL also offers an enterprise-class DBMS through a joint venture with SAP. SQL Server, DB2, and Oracle, since they are all considered to be enterprise-class DBMS, are highly expandable, with maximum database size into the terabytes (TB). Truly, these databases are at a point where the limit is actually in the operating system, not the DBMS. Types of Companies There are different markets for the different classes of DBMS.

Access databases and applications will be used company-wide in very small companies. These databases can be found in different departments of larger companies, but would not be used at a company level. MySQL, according to their website http://www. mysql. com, has over 6 million installations, including companies like Yahoo and the Associated Press. I think MySQL would be a good fit for a mid-sized company that cannot afford the price of the higher-end DBMS, but need more functionality, security, and robustness than is offered by Access.

Finally, the large DBMS systems like SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2 are typically only utilized in large companies, because of the investment required to install and maintain these databases. Database Use Each of the databases is suited to particular classes of use. Although Access can be used in a multi-user environment, it is not a good choice when there will be multiple concurrent users, because Access does not have robust transaction process as the other DBMS do. Typically, an Access application will be a single-user installation on a workstation.

All of the other DBMS are suited to handle multi-user concurrency and offer a lot of features around transaction processing and record locking to prevent issues from arising. These databases can be found in client/server applications, as well as applications that utilize internet or intranet pages as a front end. Cost The cost for the different DBMS varies widely (in fact, from nothing, to millions of dollars). A standalone version of Access (without an upgrade), costs about $339. It is also included with the Office XP Professional and Developer Editions.

MySQL is free – if the application you are developing is open-source. If the application is proprietary, then the cost will be $495 per database server, with no cost for client access licenses. The more database servers that are purchased, the lower the cost per server is, down to $175 per server if 250 or more are purchased. Now it gets a bit more complicated. DB2 Enterprise, in a server with a single processor, will cost $25,000. At the high end, it will cost $800,000 for a 32 processor version.

If the company wants OLAP and Data Mining, those are additional, with prices up to $2,016,000 for a 32 processor implementation. SQL Server is a bit more reasonable – and OLAP and Data Mining are included in the Enterprise Edition. On the low end, SQL Server Standard with one processor will be $4,999. At the high end, SQL Server Enterprise with 32 processors will cost $639,968 (not as bad as those 2 million dollars). Oracle is the most expensive. At $40,000 dollars for Enterprise Edition on a single processor, and over $2. 5 million dollars for 32 processors with OLAP and Data Mining, it tops the list.

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